The One Where “The Rachel” and “The Monica” Hairstyles Became a Cultural Phenomenon 

11/04/2022

Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of Friends before, like me (crazy right?), you most likely know what “the Rachel” hairstyle is. The mega-choppy, face-framing cut worn by Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green in the early seasons of the beloved sitcom was one of the most popular hairstyles of the ‘90s and continues to spark millions of copy-cat cuts worldwide to this day.

Ironically, despite everyone in the ‘90s being obsessed with “the Rachel”, Aniston actually admitted that she wasn’t a fan of the iconic hairstyle as she struggled to style it in the same way as her stylist, Chris McMillan, who gave her the mane makeover. As she told ABC News in 2014, “‘The Rachel’ was one of the hardest hairstyles to maintain. Me and the blow dryer and the hairbrush weren’t meant for each other.” She added, “When Chris would style it, my hair would be great—it would look gorgeous. But then when I was left to my own devices, it wouldn’t look the same!” 

Regardless of Aniston’s long-standing reservations about the hair look, the fact of the matter is that “the Rachel” and other hairstyles associated with the hit show like “the Monica” have endured the test of time. Even now, over 20 years later, these two hairstyles remain just as popular as ever. Need proof? Just scroll through TikTok and you’ll see countless users posting tutorials of how to achieve and style both of these hairstyles. Not to mention, we’ve seen a number of celebs such as Megan Thee Stallion, Kourtney Kardashian, and Sarah Hyland have put their own spin on “the Rachel” and “the Monica”.

Not only is this a testament to Friends cultural relevance, but also it speaks to the universal appeal of both hairstyles and the talents of McMillan as well as the other stylists responsible for these cuts. Naturally, with the ‘90s being back in full force, we found it pretty fitting to take a look at how these two nostalgic hairstyles have been reinterpreted for modern day. 

The Rachel 2.0

As of late, a fresh take on “the Rachel” has resurfaced in the hair community—one that has been dubbed “The Rachel 2.0.” Much like its predecessor, the modern version of the style offers universally flattering face framing. However, while the O.G Rachel cut was much shorter (generally shoulder-length) and styled with maximum volume, Rachel 2.0 is slightly longer and a bit softer.

The Modern Monica

“The Monica” has also been given somewhat of a modern-day twist. As you likely remember, throughout much of the first two seasons of Friends, Courtney Cox’s character, Monica Gellar, sported a choppy bixie (a bob meets pixie hybrid). While this O.G. version was more heavy on the volume, the modern version gives off a more casual, effortless vibe with its slinky length and airy layers.

Whether you consider yourself more of a Rachel or a Monica, you truly can’t go wrong with either of these hairstyles. And considering the staying power of both looks, there will more than likely always be an opportunity to dabble in both styles. 

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch: cnzengung@thetease.com.

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